WASHINGTON: Facing a divided Congress for the first time, President
on Tuesday called on Washington to govern “not as two parties, but as one nation” – a message that the rancorous environment in the nation’s capital after the longest government shutdown in history
Trump, who has spent two years leveling fiercely personal attacks on his Democratic rivals, proclaimed that it was time “to bridge old divisions, heal old wounds, build new coalitions, forge new solutions and unlock the America’s future of the extraordinary promise.”
Trump’s speech to lawmakers and the nation comes at a critical moment in his presidential status. He pushed his party into a long government shutdown over border security, only to cave to Democrats. With another shutdown deadline, the president has had few options for getting Congress to fund a border wall, and he is instead a national emergency declaring by lawmakers to circumvent his party.
As he stands before lawmakers, the President was surrounded by his emboldened political opposition. House Speaker
, who was praised by Democrats for his hard-line negotiations during the shutdown, sat behind Trump as he spoke. House Democratic women created a sea of white, donning the color by favored by early 20th-century suffragettes. And many senators running for president also were included in the audience, including Sens. Kamala Harris of California and
of New Jersey
Another Democratic star,
, will deliver the party’s response to Trump Abrams narrowly lost her bid in November to become America’s first black female governor, and party leaders are aggressively recruiting her to run US Senate from Georgia.
In excerpts released ahead of Abrams’ remarks, she calls the shutdown a political stunt that “defied every tenet of fairness and abandoned not just our people, but our values.”